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Jack Amoureux

on 18 April 2017

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Transcript of Constructivism

Failure of IR theories to predict or even understand the end of the Cold War
IR scholars inspired turn to sociology, philosophy and anthropology:
social/ideational aspects of IR
language and discourse > identity and policy
qualitative methodology (interpretivism)
1. Scientific analysis of IR is flawed
2. Reality is socially constructed through social interaction
3. Agents and structures are co-constitutive
4. Social content of IR: identities and relationships, practices, and institutions
5. Importance of process
No objective and universal social laws
Thinking and reflecting human beings
Human beings are social beings
Structure is social structure: 'Anarchy is what states make of it'
People (states) make society (international society) and society makes people
Structure: stable pattern of rules, practices and institutions
Agency: choices, 'norm enterpreneurs'
Hobbesian (enmity)
Lockean (amity)
Kantian (comity)
state, EU state, global citizen
norms, rules, practices and institutions
Norms- widely shared ideas and actions
Rules- govern how norms of conduct are observed
Practices - what agents do (whether and how they observe rules)
Institutions - stable patterns of rules and practices
(an ideational structure that supports particular identities)
(actors and their identities and interests)
(choices about whether and how to follow rules; acting on behalf of interests)
(embody norms and are advanced through socialization)
Process helps us understand change and stasis
IDENTITY: the stability of identity is about ongoing practices that represent the self and other in certain ways
PRACTICES: the stability of practices depends upon actors following the rules of the practice
Possible sources of change
1. actions
2. argument and persuasion
3. ethical dilemmas
violating rules
interpreting rules differently
instrumental/practical arguments
identity arguments
scientific arguments
ethical arguments
'hard cases' - unclear what ethical conduct is
new technology
unexpected events
conflicting norms
Norms of international society
Frost: there is substantial agreement on these, which can help us to tackle the hard cases
1. Preservation of sovereignty and a sovereign system of states
2. Self-determination of peoples and non-intervention in domestic affairs except in cases of self-defense
3. Well-being of own citizens is prioritized
4. International law, especially rules about when and how to go to war, maintains the peace
5. Sanctions and diplomacy are appropriate for security
6. A system of economic cooperaiton is desirable
7. Democratic institutions and human rights
Scientific IR:
treats actors as always the same over time
self-fulfilling prophecy of theories--not a test of a separate reality
Focus on understanding instead
Why did the Cold War end?
Constitutive rules
Regulative rules
Who are the agents?
What can these agents do?
(e.g., Arab Nationalism, the Cold War, the'Washington Consensus, International Law)
When rules and practices are fairly stable they are 'institutionalized'
Full transcript